PLACE Lecture Series


Causes and Consequences of Cognitive Exploration: How Openness to Experience and Intellect Help Explain Human Personality

Streaming Media

Document Type

Video File


53 minutes 3 seconds

Publication Date



Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology


Dr. Colin DeYoung (associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota) discusses his research on understanding openness and intellect in order to understand human personalities. One of the most striking characteristics of human beings as a species is the complexity of our cognitive processes and representations of experience. No other species produces fiction, philosophy, representational art, or mathematics. Among people, however, there is much variation in the degree to which people engage in these kinds of cognitive exploration. Controversy has lingered over whether to label these individual differences as openness to experience or intellect, but research indicates that these two labels, in fact, describe two different components of one broader trait.

In this lecture, DeYoung describes what openness and intellect share and how they differ. He explains what we know about the sources of these traits, including how they are generated by the brain and influenced by both genetics and experience, as well as what we know about the impact these important traits have on our lives.


Sponsored by the Linfield College Psychology Department, the Office of Academic Affairs, and PLACE.